Welcome!

News Feed Item

What to Cut when Majorities of Americans Support Most Major Government Services?

Political and generational divides abound in a playing field littered with "third rails"

NEW YORK, March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Harris Poll finds that large majorities of the public continue to be supportive of many key government services.  This continuing sentiment underscores the difficulty our leaders face when attempting to curb government spending, given that nearly any cut under consideration, such as recent defense cuts proposed by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D. NY) will be met with strong resistance from one segment or another. This leaves us, as a nation, with a dilemma: if almost everything is a third rail, where can we look to find fiscal footing?

Harris Poll Logo

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,266 adults surveyed online between February 12 and 17, 2014. (Full results, including a complete list of the government programs and services tested, available here)

The survey asked about 14 different types of government services and programs, using a list repeated from Harris Polls conducted in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2011, in order to measure attitudinal shifts over time; Head Start, a program providing assistance to low-income children and their families, was added for 2014.

Some top findings include:

  • The most popular services and programs, supported by 80% or more of the American public, are Medicare (with 90% supporting it either a great deal or somewhat), crime-fighting and prevention (89%), Social Security (also 89%), National Parks (83%), defense (82%) and federal aid to public schools (80%).
  • Also supported by large majorities of adults are Medicaid (77%), unemployment benefits (also 77%), environmental protection (76%), Head Start (75%) and intelligence services (71%).
  • Majorities – albeit smaller ones – also support food stamps (63%) and Immigration and Naturalization services (58%).
  • The only program on the list that is not supported by a majority of U.S. adults is foreign aid, with only 35% supporting it.

Trends
Support for most of these programs and services has fluctuated over the past nine years. But, in looking at just the past few years, support for many of the programs is within two percentage points of where it stood in 2011, the exceptions being Social Security (up 4 points, from 85% to 89%) and Medicaid (up 3 points, from 74% to 77%). Looking back further, support for many of these programs and services is considerably higher than it was in 2005, when the questions were first asked. Top examples of this include Medicare (up 14 points, from 76% to 90%), Social Security (up 13 points, from 76% to 89%) and crime-fighting and prevention (up 12 points from 77% to 89%). 

Differences by generation
Looking specifically at Americans saying they have "a great deal" of support for each program, generational lines play a considerable role in professed support. As might be expected, Baby Boomers (ages 49-67) and Matures (ages 68+) are more likely than Echo Boomers (ages 18-36) or Gen Xers (ages 37-48) to show this level of support for Social Security (46% Echo Boomers, 54% Gen Xers, 74% Baby Boomers, 79% Matures) and Medicare (8%, 55%, 70% and 77%, respectively).

Support skews in the other direction for education related programs and services: Echo Boomers are more likely than any other generation to profess a great deal of support for Head Start (44% Echo Boomers, 33% Gen Xers, 34% Baby Boomers, 27% Matures) and federal aid to public schools (54%, 45%, 40% and 28%, respectively), with Matures less likely than any other generation to show such support for the latter. Matures are also less likely than any of their younger counterparts to support Food Stamps (32%, 24%, 27% and 16%, respectively) a great deal.

Differences by political party and philosophy
Democrats are more likely than Independents – who in turn are more likely than Republicans – to support the majority of the programs evaluated a great deal; key exceptions are defense, which Republicans (58%) are more likely than either Democrats (35%) or Independents (41%) to support a great deal; and intelligence services, which roughly one-fourth support a great deal across party lines (27% Republicans, 25% Democrats, 22% Independents).

What do Americans agree on?
Crime-fighting and prevention appears to be a more unifying concern, with a total of 48% supporting it a great deal and neither generational (44% Echo Boomers, 45% Gen Xers, 51% Baby Boomers, 52% Matures) nor political (47% Republicans, 52% Democrats, 48% Independents) subsets differing significantly from one another.

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!

Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 12 to 17, 2014 among 2,266 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #21, March 4, 2014
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll.  Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
The Harris Poll
212-539-9600
[email protected]

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO

SOURCE The Harris Poll

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. H...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it's important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. "Fly two mistakes high" is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Le...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Daniel Jones is CTO of EngineerBetter, helping enterprises deliver value faster. Previously he was an IT consultant, indie video games developer, head of web development in the finance sector, and an award-winning martial artist. Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams.
Digital transformation has increased the pace of business creating a productivity divide between the technology haves and have nots. Managing financial information on spreadsheets and piecing together insight from numerous disconnected systems is no longer an option. Rapid market changes and aggressive competition are motivating business leaders to reevaluate legacy technology investments in search of modern technologies to achieve greater agility, reduced costs and organizational efficiencies. ...
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Enterprises are striving to become digital businesses for differentiated innovation and customer-centricity. Traditionally, they focused on digitizing processes and paper workflow. To be a disruptor and compete against new players, they need to gain insight into business data and innovate at scale. Cloud and cognitive technologies can help them leverage hidden data in SAP/ERP systems to fuel their businesses to accelerate digital transformation success.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named "Media Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...